ISLAMABAD -  Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said on Friday told the National Assembly that Pakistan will neither become a proxy state nor fought anyone’s proxy war.

Replying to a point of order raised by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman about the unrest in the Middle East, Asif said the United States wants Pakistan to act as a proxy and to protect its (US) interests in Afghanistan, but Pakistan will not do so. “Pakistan will not protect interests of any country or any power, but it will only safeguard its own interests,” the minister said.

He said that peace in Afghanistan was the desire of the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan but not the world powers. He lambasted the US for accusing Pakistan of harbouring the Haqqani network.

“A superpower is sitting in a country but the production of heroin (drug) has jumped from 200 tons to 9000 tons, and the 16 best armies of the world have lost 43 percent of territory to Taliban. They (Taliban) don’t need us, they have control over 43 percent area of Afghanistan,” the minister said.

The United States has been urging Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network allegedly present inside Pakistan which has been carrying out attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The US president in his New Year tweet accused Pakistan of lies and deceit and accused Pakistan of providing safe haven to terrorists – whom the US had been hunting in Afghanistan.

In his policy statement on the role of Pakistan in the ongoing Middle East crisis, Asif said that Pakistan would not interfere in internal rifts of Islamic states. “Pakistan sincerely wishes that Iran and Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia and Qatar overcome their differences but it (Pakistan) does not want to be part of any internal rift in Islamic Ummah,” he said.

He said there was a temptation to be part of the Yemen war but Pakistan has not and will not participate in that war.

He said thousands of people had been killed in the war waged by the US for a regime change in different countries. “What has happened in Aleppo and what is happening in Ghouta, 1.4 million Iraqis have been killed in the Iraq war and 700,000 in Syria, these all innocents have been killed in the US-imposed war of regime change,” he said.

He said Pakistan was the next target of the world powers. “Those who carried out a bloodshed in Iran, Afghanistan and Libya, are not well-wishers of Pakistan either,” he said.

Talking about the presence of Pakistan army personnel in Saudi Arabia, Asif said a large number of Pakistan army used to be there in Saudi Arabia since in the 80s and 90 but now it has been reduced and its role has been restricted to internal matters only and it is not part of any Saudi action outside its borders.

He said that had Pakistan not succumbed to the US pressure in 2002, the war wouldn't have entered the country.

“We surrendered to the US after 9/11, and the war entered our premises, the war came to our homeland after we fought the US-sponsored jihad, Asif said.

He said that Pakistan fought a war for the interest of the US in the 80s and repeated the same mistake in 2002.

In his written reply to a question raised by lawmaker Abdul Qahar Khan Wadan regarding Pakistan’s strategy in the wake of negative remarks by the US president, Asif said that the remarks were negative but after the tweet of Donald Trump, the National Security Council decided a measured reaction.

He said that during the recent visit of Acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice G Wells and US National Security Council Senior Director Lisa Curtis, the US side was impressed that the negative language used by the US leadership was unacceptable to the government and the people of Pakistan.

“But despite unwarranted allegations, Pakistan remains committed to the stability of the region and supports all efforts towards an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” he said in his reply.

He said that the situation on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary is rapidly deteriorating since 2017. “Heavy weapons, including mortars, are frequently being used by the Indian forces, on the civilian population on the Pakistani side of the LoC and the Working Boundary, resulting in a number of casualties and damage to properties,” he said.

Since the beginning of 2018, the Indian occupation forces have carried out more than 400 ceasefire violations along the LoC and the Working Boundary, resulting in the martyrdom of 18 innocent Pakistani civilians and injuries to 68 to date, the minister said.

He said despite continuous demarches with the Indian High Commission, highlighting the issue at the multilateral fora, including the United Nations and the Human Rights Council, and writing to the Indian External Affairs Minister, over the loss of innocent civilian’ lives, the response from India was not positive.

He said that India refused visas to 192 of Pakistani pilgrims, who wanted to participate in the Urs of Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Aulia in sheer violation of the 1947 protocol.

 

 

Pakistan next target of world powers: FM

 

Atif Khan